April 20, 2016

Does Design create value?

I read an article today, on  Quora, an article by Jon Schlossberg.

The Title? "Design doesn't deserver a seat at the table" - you'll find the article itself here

I have a lot to say about the article but I will not go in to all details here, partly because I find it hard to follow, Schlossberg doesn't really follow a red thread - and it is a long article. 

However the one thing I to bring up that I want to talk about is  "Real value" vs "perceived value".

Schlossberg (and notice that this is just a cut from the article):

I’m not saying design is unimportant—design is often critically important. I’m saying design doesn't create real value.

This is where I disagree. 

Good design creates REAL value. Not on it's own, that is true, but that's also true for an algorithm or a mathematical problem. Maths on it's own: Great to know but if it isn't in a context: Useless, really (and just like Schlossberg works with design and says design doesn't create real value, that comes from a woman who loves maths).

Design creates real value simply because in design at least I include usability - and a product that the consumer/customer/client can't use - it doesn't MATTER how good the program behind is, if the functionalities can't be used/can't be found/... the program is useless. Design creates real value. 

And a product with poor design might not just not create value but actually end up COSTING the company. It is not about "perceived value" - it is very real value. A product that isn't used at all or isn't used the right way is costly to develop, cost money to run and is unsustainable. 

Design can create both REAL value and perceived value.

To be successful ALL the different bits of an organisation and the product must work.

Design on it's own is as pointless as maths or engineering on it's own. But design isn't just about what colour to use where; It's about usability and why a certain design works and why another one doesn't.

Design DOES deserve a seat at the table. To be really successful with design, the designers and the usability experts need to understand the full picture, understand the product and understand the stakeholders, and especially the stakeholders.

Only then can we create real value with design.

And that is what's so important for any organisation but especially for a startup: Throw the stow-piping away and look at the business process. We are all pieces of the puzzle. Teamwork is the key to a successful business.  

About Quora: Quora is a  "Question and Answer website", a community for questions and answers - read more about Quora on Wikipedia 

I am generally very careful with links to websites, especially websites that might have a content that I am not supportive of, or with a leadership that I am unfamiliar with but this article bugged me, and I felt the need to comment. This comment is only connected what is stated in the article I link to, I have no connection to anything else said on the website nor by Jon Schlossberg, whom I don't personally know. 


Mike Fagan said...

I think Schlossberg has your criticism covered. He admits design is important, but what he's saying is that there has to be something there in the first place to be designed.

TravellingAK said...

Finally! It seems it is now finally working again, the comments!
On design: Well, development or coding doesn't have a purpose on it's own either, does it? Nor does really any other function or part of the process. I really do feel that design deserves a seat at the table as it's often what makes or breaks a product - whether it is about giving the customers something they requested and need or whether it is creating a product that they don't know yet that they actually need.

Design deserves a seat at the table because if we don't give design a seat at the table, it is going to be too late once they get in. It is far more difficult, as well as expensive, to fix bad design late in the process and it is far more difficult to do it right if we can't start with design early on.

Design, good design, is about iteration after iteration, testing, throwing away and starting from scratch when it doesn't work.

Making something "pretty" is the least important part of design. Pretty might not deserve a space at the table. But design, good design, is about usability, about affordance and about accessibility - I wrote that in a post after Google I/O as well.

Design definitely deserves that space at the table

(and tell a vision impaired person that being able to order a taxi on her own doesn't bring real value... )